CineSavant Column

Saturday July 7, 2018


–written Saturday– It’s burning up out here in the City of Angels … no fires, but I think everyone from Agoura to Thousand Oaks and West to Pasadena is hunkered down in the coolest place they can find, and posting thermostat readings on Facebook as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I have the good fortune to be South of the Santa Monica Mountains, where it’s always about ten degrees cooler on hot days — when we went outside at 2p.m. it was only 107°!   The hottest weather I’ve ever been in was a hostile 125° in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, around 1972. I had to walk only about fifty feet to my car and by the time I got there I felt faint and I could tell that my eyes were drying out — I had to use my shirt tail to open the car door, and then the car seat burned my back and the steering wheel my fingers — you get the idea. This is a good time to pray the power doesn’t fail, relax under air conditioning and watch something refreshing.

The picture above is a memory of a more pleasant climate — a week or so ago, my son was in Hawaii and was able to get on Hickam Air Force Base, where I lived from late 1958 to late 1961 — from age six to nine. It was heaven, a childhood in a fragrant fantasy land. I gave him my old address (which I still remember!) and he took a picture of the row of houses where we lived. As these residences just off the Hickam Parade Ground haven’t changed since before WW2, the photo is like a time machine for me. Here in Los Angeles almost every place I worked during my ‘career,’ from studios to storefront editing hide-outs, has changed so much that I can barely associate myself with the existing city. But I feel good knowing that Hickam will still be there. At the end of the parade ground is the water tower, which is actually right on the entrance channel to Pearl Harbor… it’s highly visible in the movies Tora! Tora! Tora! and Pearl Harbor. My son took new photos of the tower as well — and I can clearly see the chips out of the concrete. I remember my father pointing to the tower and other stone buildings on Hickam that still bore these scars of the December 7th attack — bomb shrapnel and random strafing from Japanese planes!

I have to say I’ve been pouring over new discs during the day and enjoying Netflix at night with the Missus, who makes good use of her vacations to catch up on everything she misses when working ungodly hours during the school year. Besides my review discs, people loan me things that catch my fancy … I should be reviewing the vintage Science Fiction films I’ve never seen before, just in case the time comes for a new review book. As it’s been six years there’s certainly enough new material for that.

I got a nice note from Mark Throop today, and took a peek at his Movies ala Mark vintage movie review page. I’m breaking a rule among web reviewers, genre fandom faux-celebs and various nabobs by plugging the other guy — I’ve read several of Mark’s reviews already and like both his writing style and his page’s clean layout. Very relaxing. And in these days of dueling opinions, it don’t hurt that Mark’s thoughts reinforce my personal prejudices and biases make such good sense!

That’s the one link today — I’m presently going over new Blus of Bull Durham, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, Village of the Damned, Maborosi, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Sex Lies & Videotape, My Gal Sal and The Maids. Anxiously awaited is a July 23 release from UK’s Indicator company, Hammer Volume 3: Blood and Terror with The Camp on Blood Island, The Terror of the Tongs and especially Yesterday’s Enemy and The Stranglers of Bombay. Indicator’s list of disc extras for those shockers is very exciting.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson